Let me take my rose colored sun glasses off and tell you that I think my kid is no different than a lot of other kids. Barring extreme circumstances like last month’s scourge, I find most toddlers remarkably pleasant and I certainly don’t care for the term “Terrible Twos”. Imagine if every time you got crabby someone leaned over and uttered “PMS”, I bet you’d just love that! So, why in the world would we choose to discount children’s feelings and difficulties by characterizing them as a phase to survive? Why demean their emotions? Is it because it’s easier to call someone a “bitch” or a “terrorist” or chalk it up to “the Terrible Twos” than to try and understand their point of view?
Maybe instead of having a “fussy baby” she is an “effective communicator”, or is she “learning to manage frustration” instead of “throwing a tantrum” and when she’s running around screaming “No! No!” maybe she is “asserting her independence” and not “trying to test your patience”. Babies and toddlers don’t yet understand patience or revenge or malice; they barely even see other people as separate entities much less understand other’s complex feelings. This is not just a PC way to say “she’s a goblin child”, I really believe kids just try to get their needs met in the best way they know how. It's up to us to guide them in learning ways to reach goals as well as teaching them about prioritizing. (Actually, I know a lot of grown ups who still need to learn about prioritizing and learning honorable and acceptable ways to reach goals).
This is why I’m so excited to see the new show “Shalom in the Home”. Rabbi Shmuley will travel the US teaching his philosophy “…there is no such thing as bad children”. I love him already. I hope the show does well.
12:45 update entitled "Oh the Irony"
Ella and I were just outside playing and the following exchange took place:
Me: You found a stick
Me: What are you gonna to do with that stick?
Ella: I gonna poke you in da eye! (proceeds to run toward my eyeball with stick in jousting position)